Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Bile and Bad Liturgy

In a humorous typo the BBC News Web Site drew my attention to a line of religious mobile phone products launched from Monmouthshire, which included being able to download the 'Bile' for £6. I've seen similar mistakes on Service sheets where 'gin' has been substituted for 'sin' and 'bells' for 'balls!' That's what happens when you leaves things to the Spellcheck! At least it brings a laugh or a fleeting smile to the liturgy in hand! I have spent the day at a meeting of the Standing Liturgical Advisory Commission where those with eagle eyes can spot the odd typo, irregularity or grammatical error or, even worse, the unintentional theological inaccuracy!

The Commission works to an imposed timetable which means that things are not so much rushed through but I do get the impression sometimes that we don't always get the time to spend on the work that the liturgical text deserves. I'm a relative newcomer to the group and still finding my way and the group is full of gifted and experienced people. Most of the work, of course, is accomplished by individuals outside of the meetings and that was certainly the case today, again, when Catherine and Juliette tabled the results of their expertise and creativity, offering something original rather than rejigged text from somewhere else!

Of course, you can never please everyone all of the time and the trouble is that when you do try to please everyone you end up pleasing no one! But the liturgical text is only one half of the final product (that's an awful word, I know!) It's as much to do with the way the text is used and I fear that so many churches use the liturgy unimaginatively and with little sensitivity to what it's all about. I've seen it for myself, on so many occasions, and it doesn't really leave me with a smile on my face! I'm not a liturgical purist but when the liturgy of the church is celebrated in such an inadequate way it does fill me with a little bile which, by the way, you can get for a £6 download!

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